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The History of Surfing Hardcover – September 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 495 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811856003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811856003
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 1.8 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Meticulously researched, smartly written, beautifully laid out...required reading." - Outside Magazine

"Written by one of the world's leading surf historians, this ...is the definitive book on surf history and culture." - Drift Magazine

"There's a reason that Warshaw is at the top of the surf writing field, and if you're looking for a gift for the literate surfer in your life, this is definitely the one." -SBC Surf Magazine

"Trust us, his book is the place to go for the goods." - OC Weekly

About the Author

Matt Warshaw is the former editor of SURFER magazine. A lifelong surfer, he is the author of numerous books on surfing, including Maverick's: The Story of Big Wave Surfing. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and son.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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It is one of the best surfing books today.
Eunice M. Mellinkoff
Great product quality from paper to printing and photos.
Wallison Almeida
I gave this book to my fiancé for Christmas.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mimi Kalland on August 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am not a surfer. But I am a history buff who was given an advance copy of this gorgeous book. I'm only on page 174, but I have to stop and share my excitement about The History of Surfing. How can you not love a book that describes the crowds at surf movies of the late 1950's like this:

"Firecrackers were lit and rolled across the floor to the next row of seats. Bottlecaps zipped through the air. High decibel beer-belches rang out. A motorcyclist might blow in through the side door, ride up one aisle and down the other, then gun back out the way he came.

"What older surfers invariably describe first when talking about early surf movies is the tearing thunderclap of cheers and whistles and stomping feet that began when the lights dimmed and the first blue-green image lip up the screen--a roaring noise signifying not just a manic willingness to be entertained, but the pure joy of an otherwise staunchly nonaligned multitude coming together briefly, powerfully, ecstatically as a group."

Now that's the way to write history. Kevin Starr, California State Historian, eat your heart out.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By waterman22 on October 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is it, the definitive story of surfing, surfers and beach culture.
It's a big thick textbook like collection of information, photos, stories and anecdotes.
Warshaw has set the bar so high with this work, I doubt anyone will ever have the balls to approach the subject again.
I will be reading and re-reading this one for a long time to come
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Johnny on November 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
When I got this book I was a bit afraid it would take me forever to read, but as soon as I opened it up and read the first few pages I discovered just how good a writer Matt Warshaw is and how hard it would be to put it down. Matt has gotten the words right using each one with careful consideration and has somehow been able to cover all the bases with an unbiased yet engaging perspective that is different from just reading facts. Reading along and having a slight idea of what was to come made it exciting to see how the bits and pieces of surf history I knew of would be played out in the pages. It was a bit like watching a movie version of a really good book. Most cases you go in expecting a letdown because how can someone match what the book did on the screen, but every once in a while you are surprised. How could someone take the history of surfing and impress in a book? Well somehow this author has. I would recommend it to surfers and non-surfers alike. Great photos, nice job on the page titles, and above all else really great writing.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Charles S. Lukens on December 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read some of Matt Warshaw's other work (mostly shorts and Maverick's: The Story of Big Wave Surfing)I already knew that I liked his writing style. Being an aging surfer and having read a good bit of both historic and modern surf literature, I wasn't sure if a comphrehensive HOS would be able to hold my attention. Simply put, it did, and then some. I was generally familiar with a good bit of the content from my disjointed readings of the past. There is enough new stuff and some surprises in the old stuff, more than enough, and written in a manner that makes it an enjoyable and refreshing cover to cover read.

Having a degree in history, an ex-pro surfer, having established the most extensive surf database anywhere in existence, as well as having recently completed The Encyclopedia Of Surfing, Matt is unquestionably the authority on the subject, uniquely qualified to write the history of surfing. Yes, as a reviewer noted there is some "opinion" to be found here and there, not a lot, but it is clearly such and I found it to be more insightful in nature, an "insider's" perspective, not opinion masquerading as fact.

As a surfer of course I'm obviously biased to the subject, but I do agree that non surfers with any interest what-so-ever in surf history or culture should find this to be the best, most comphrehensive and enjoyable single source read available today on surfing.

The bottom line is: if you are a grom or an old surfer you really should give this a read regardless of how you come by it. Get it from your local library, borrow it from a bro, steal it. Just kidding, don't steal- we're finally getting a little main stream respect these days. I found the Amazon price to be the best. It is pretty beefy. If you buy it and don't like it, you've still got one hell of a door stop.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steven Threndyle on November 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Surf historians take note - Matt Warshaw has just put y'all out of business. Seriously, this book should be in the NYTimes Top 100 books because, far from being a mere surf history - it's the 'Story' of surfing - how an incredibly difficult yet photogenic sport wormed its way into mainstream culture. Warshaw's prose crackles off the page - no cliches, no hashing over old stories, just bringing a fresh eye and perspective to the 'original' action sport. Oh, to have this kind of encyclopedic knowledge of a topic and the ability to write authoritatively and entertainly as Warshaw does. Bravo!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Adam Pollock on November 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written. Historically solid with entertaining stories and interviews/quotes. Comprehensive. Warshaw's writing style is a cool mix of surfer and cultural anthropologist/novelist/historian.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CH on January 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Matt Warshaw is a tireless researcher and writer when it comes to surfing. He's got the dedication and skill to research and write about a subject that could start and go in any direction. Warshaw gives surfing a direction, from it's beginning to where it's at, now.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Matt Warshaw was born in Los Angeles, began riding waves in 1969, and had a brief, undistinguished, resume-padding career as a pro surfer during the early 1980s. He worked at SURFER Magazine for six years, and became editor in 1990. Quitting what has been called "the best job in surfing," Warshaw enrolled at UC Berkeley, and in 1993 took a BA in History, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. He continued to write, and published articles in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Esquire, Interview, and Outside.

Warshaw has written eight books since 1997, including the Encyclopedia of Surfing ("A living, breathing masterpiece," according to Salon.com), and the History of Surfing. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin wrote that "Warshaw has written more cogent words about surfing than any other human," and the UK's Independent added that "the author appears to have attained total omniscience in his field." In 2013, Warshaw launched the Encyclopedia of Surfing website.

Warshaw lives in Seattle with his wife and son.

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